The Senate meets in statewide session on Tuesdays at 12:00, Wednesdays at 2:00, and Thursdays at 11:00. Committees and subcommittees meet Tuesday afternoons, Wednesday mornings, and Thursday mornings. You can watch live coverage of the Senate, House of Representatives, and committees here .
Here are the highlights from the last week’s action in the Senate –
Ethics – The Senate spent a good bit of time discussing S. 1, a bill to update ethics laws for elected and appointed officials. Ultimately, the bill failed 19-24.
The heart of this bill was a provision to require an independent ethics commission to investigate ethics complaints against legislators. Senator Luke Rankin (R-Horry) offered an amendment to have four sitting legislators serve on the “independent” commission. That amendment passed 25-20. I think that amendment creates a system that is worse than the current set up; it was merely an effort to ensure that the General Assembly control the entire process of ethics complaints against legislators. Because I thought that amendment gutted the most important provision of the bill, I voted against the amendment and, ultimately, I voted against the entire bill. You can see the vote on the amendment here and the vote on the bill here.
New Directors for DSS and LLR – On Thursday the Senate confirmed Susan Alford as the new Director of the Department of Social Services and Richele Taylor as the new Director of the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. Mrs. Alford and Mrs. Taylor are both very impressive, and I am confident they will do a fine job leading their agencies.
The Senate has a large number of gubernatorial appointments to confirm this session. If you have any questions or input about any of those nominees, please let me know.
Domestic Violence – The Senate should begin debate on S. 3, a bill designed to strengthen our domestic violence laws, on Tuesday. I expect the discussion will last at least a couple days. If you have any questions or comments about the bill, please let me know.
Big Impact for Agriculture and Forestry – Last week Governor Haley and Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers unveiled a study showing agriculture and forestry support 212,000 jobs statewide and have a combined annual economic impact of $41.7 billion. Our district is a leading supporter of agribusiness and, therefore, has a major impact on the state’s economy. You can read the press release and get more information here.
Urban Outfitters Closing – Urban Outfitters announced on Monday that it will close its Edgefield County distribution center and relocate to a new facility in Pennsylvania. You can see a news report on the move here. I understand the Trenton facility will close in September.
Taxpayer Hero – The South Carolina Club for Growth named me one of its Taxpayer Heroes for 2014. You can read the press release here, see the scorecard here, and see the explanation of scored votes here.
Our Senate District – Senate district 25 consists of all of Edgefield County and parts of Aiken, Lexington, McCormick, and Saluda Counties. If you’d like to see the district map, go here.
Speaking with Groups – Several groups, clubs, and classes around our Senate district have invited me to attend their meetings and provide legislative updates. If you would like for me to come speak with your group, please let me know.
Email updates – If you know of people in or around District 25 who do not receive my updates but would like to get them, please email their names and email addresses to me. You can also forward this email to them and encourage them to sign up for the updates at www.senatormassey.com.